Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), the first U.S. senator to travel to Liberia since the Ebola virus started spreading there  this year, said in a telephone call with reporters Monday that he has seen first-hand how international and local teams there had worked "to change the trajectory of the epidemic" in the country.

Coons, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on African affairs, has met with U.S. military and government officials as well as local responders and representatives from non-governmental organizations who are working to curb the spread of the deadly disease in Liberia. He will meet with President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson later Monday.

The senator emphasized that while international support has been crucial in fighting the epidemic, the efforts "by Liberians at the local level is what has made the essential changes that have changed the trajectory of the epidemic."

Now that the rate of infections is slowing in Liberia, Coons said, he has been asking in meetings, "How do we get to zero?"

"I know there is very hard work to get to there from here," Coons  said.

He also praised the level of collaboration among different groups in Monrovia, noting that at the central command center there, "Every major organization that has a role in the Ebola response is at one table, at one time, coordinating."